GUIDE

How to check that your VPN is working when torrenting

Many people use VPN primarily to hide the IP address when P2P BitTorrent downloading. DMCA (or similar) notices sent to ISPs can lead to threats of disconnection, or users IP addresses can be passed on to copyright holders for prosecution, something that can result in fines ranging up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some countries, such as the US, Ireland and South Korea, ‘graduated response’ schemes add additional penalties.

P2P works by downloading lots of small pieces of a file which are located on other users’ commuters (usually all over the world). Because you are downloading from multiple sources this makes the transfer quick and efficient (depending on how many people are sharing file (seeders), and how many are downloading it (leechers)).

This is great, but it does mean that anyone sharing or downloading a file can see the IP address of  all the other people they are sharing it with, making it very easy to track downloaders to their IP address, allowing copyright holders to easily identify copyright infringers.

Using VPN of course hides your IP address from the outside world, which can only see the IP of the VPN server you are connected to, and also hides the contents all your internet traffic (including BitTorrent traffic) from your ISP (although it will be able to see how much data you are downloading), so downloading when connected to a VPN service that allows P2P is safe.

It does however bring peace of mind to know that everything is working properly, and that your IP address is properly hidden, so here we show you how!

The iPMagnet tool is an open source solution that lets you download a Magnet link, and when this is run in your BitTorrent client it displays your IP address (plus a time stamp and torrent client details).

ipm 2

The IP Address should not be your real IP, but your VPN provider’s. If you are not sure about your IP address, visit a website such as  http://www.ip-adress.com with your VPN turned off, and then on.

People are free to use the demo version of the ipMagnet tool, but it is really designed so that web site owners can run it on their own servers. The code is less than 500 lines long, and can be easily installed by anyone with basic knowledge of PHP, JavaScript and HTML.


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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2 responses to “How to check that your VPN is working when torrenting

    1. Hi patrice,

      Good work! It looks similar to VPNNetmon and VPN Check described here, except that it is open source (yay!). I hope you don’t mind me noting, however, that firewall=based kill switch solutions are preferable to cut-off solutions, as (if properly implemented) they prevent all possibility of an IP leak.

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